3 Ways to Ruin a Perfectly Good Retirement
I won't bore you with all 10, because the truth of the matter is that many of us -- 26%, according to Bankrate.com -- will be solely relying on Social Security when we hit our golden years. So if the check arrives on time, we'll manage to muddle through. If Social Security goes belly up, not being able to collect a monthly check from the government will be the least of our problems.
Despite that, I was thinking about what U.S. News had to say. Of course, saving a nice nest egg and spending it wisely is a great idea. But few people are in the position to save and spend the way the magazine recommends.Among its advice, U.S. News says it's smart to buy a feature-filled Medicare Supplement plan, provided you can scrape together the cash to do it. In a recent column, Humberto Cruz, my favorite financial adviser, pointed out that the cost of the alphabet soup of letters that represent Medicare plans can easily add up to more than $300 a month. Wow. Social Security says that the average monthly Social Security check is $1,164 in 2010. If you spend 25% of that on health insurance, you'll be eating kibble by the end of the month.
Anyway, all of this math was making my head hurt unnecessarily. If you really want to ruin your retirement, there are far faster and better ways than nickel and diming yourself into misery. Here are three ways to really go for it.
Get a divorce. Do this at 65 and watch your ex-spouse walk away with everything, including the dog, the house and any savings that you might have scraped together. Even 76-year-old, seven-time marital loser Larry King is calling off his 8th divorce -- he probably figured out how much he would have to pay and decided that reconciling would be a whole lot cheaper.
Eat until you can't waddle. Retirees tend to put on weight -- especially women who gain an average of 5% of their body weight when they stop working, even part time. Take a look at this poor guy in England, who hasn't worked in years and is now up to nearly 1,000 pounds.
Be the biggest loser in Vegas. At 52, Terrance Watanabe lost $127 million on the baccarat tables at Caesar's Palace and its low-end sister club Rio, according to the Wall Street Journal. About $14.7 million was in loans from Caesar's. The rest represented his personal savings from his party-favor import business. Harrah's Entertainment Inc., parent company of the two casinos, sued Watanabe to force him to make good on his debts. He counter-sued saying the club got him drunk.